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Our view

The illusion that we understand the past fosters overconfidence in our ability to predict the future
DANIEL KAHNEMAN – Author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

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Changing the Conversation
21st Club presents a collection of insights for football club boardrooms

Changing the Conversation

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  • 20 Sep 2018

    Corpses on Everest

    There is an internet meme which simply reads: “Every corpse on Mount Everest was once an extremely motivated person”.

    While parodying motivational posters, it is also – probably unintentionally – an insight into the fallacy of analysing success. An analysis of people who successfully scaled Mount Everest, for example, might reveal a list of common […]

  • 13 Sep 2018

    Head of tactics

    There are three main ways in which a head coach/manager can improve a team:

    Improve the squad through transfers
    Improve individual players through coaching
    Get better performance from the same set of players through tactics

    Traditionally, managers have accumulated all three of these functions. However, there is no particular reason a single person should be in […]

  • 07 Sep 2018

    Apples with caviar

    How do we know that we’re doing a good job?

    Talk to most CEOs in listed companies and they will tell you that the company’s share price is the ultimate barometer of their performance. Business strategy is therefore often in service to the share price as it provides the clearest and quickest affirmation of success.

    Our equivalent in […]

  • 30 Aug 2018

    The pressure to attack

    All clubs recognise that football is a results industry, but many would also say that providing entertainment is more important than it has ever been. Clubs and leagues’ competition is no longer just other teams or even sports, it’s often TV box sets and video games.

    This shift has coincided with an era of coaches […]

  • 23 Aug 2018

    Old dog, new tricks

    Thomas Kuhn, in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions suggests that new ideas, regardless of the strength of evidence that underpins them, are only adopted once they are no longer considered ‘new’. He argues that this requires a change, not in how the ideas are viewed, but in who is viewing them.

    It is […]

  • 16 Aug 2018

    The early-season paradox

    On Saturday, Chelsea host Arsenal in a match that is ostensibly a chance for both teams to continue to assess their own progress under new head coaches. The narrative goes that given it’s early in the season, it would be wrong to read too much into the result, and in any case there is plenty […]

  • 09 Aug 2018

    Bounceback-‘ability’

    After his side climbed the table from 22nd to 6th in 2004, then-Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie famously coined the term ‘bouncebackability’ to praise his side’s impressive rebound. The term has stuck – it even entered the Oxford English Dictionary the following year – and is now attached to any team who comes back from […]

  • 02 Aug 2018

    The overvalued market

    Football, like any other industry, is subject to the laws of supply and demand. Just as Ibiza’s popularity as a holiday destination pushes up the price of a drink on the island, the transfer fees required to acquire footballers is related not just to the quality of players in that market, but how many clubs […]

  • 26 Jul 2018

    Less money mo problems

    When Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo, there probably wasn’t much for their directors to deliberate over. There are only a handful of strikers in world football that could improve their team, and even fewer who could expand their commercial potential. As one of the wealthiest clubs in the world, the search needn’t have been far and […]